Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Large Sunspots Now Crossing the Sun
Posted on 07/10/2013 3:18:29 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: One of the largest sunspot regions in recent years is now crossing the Sun. This region of convoluted magnetic fields may well produce a solar flare that releases a cloud of energetic particles into the Solar System. Were a very powerful cloud to impact the Earth's magnetosphere, it could be dangerous to Earth-orbiting astronauts and satellites. Conversely, the impact of even a less energetic cloud might create picturesque aurora. Pictured above is the sunspot region as it appeared two days ago. The rightmost part of this region has been cataloged as AR 11785, while the left part as AR 11787. The darkest sunspot regions contain nearly vertical magnetic fields and are called umbras, while the surrounding bronze regions -- more clearly showing stringy magnetic flux tubes -- are called penumbras. Churning solar granules, many about 1000 km across, compose the yellow background region. No one knows what this sunspot region will do, but space weather researchers are monitoring it closely.
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[Credit & Copyright: Damian Peach]
AGW to blame.
Looks like a melanoma.
no wonder why my tan is uneven.
That’s no moon. That’s a FULLY OPERATIONAL space station and it’s pointing right at our planet!
Looks more like squamous cell carcinoma
(It's the same old thing as yesterday)
Do you feel like youre in the firing gallery? These sunspots are practically square-on to Earth right now. Although they havent shown much sign of erupting, if they did our planet would be right in the line of fire if a flare or stream of solar particles erupted.
These groups (known as 1785 and 1787) are so big that they are easily visible in amateur telescopes. 1785 alone is more than 11 Earth-diameters across, according to SpaceWeather.com! Just make sure you have the proper solar filters in place before you gaze at these dark smudges.
Could it be the calm before the storm? SpaceWeather.com asked on its homepage, before giving forecasts of strong types of flares: NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of M-flares and a 10% chance of X-flares on July 8.
The question has more pertinence given that 2013 is supposed to be the peak of the current 11-year sunspot cycle, but so far its been quieter than astronomers expected. Scientists are still trying to figure out how the cycle works.
Well keep our eyes peeled and let you know if something interesting happens.
Update, 2:39 EDT: Among the pictures in our Flickr pool is this new stunner below from Ron Cottrell of Oro Valley, Arizona. These sunspots are so magnificent that I get striking detail with my small 40mm Hydrogen-alpha telescope, he wrote us.
When’s the Carrington effect going to happen? I’ve been waiting and waiting!
Thank you SunkenCiv.